The principal design objective of Six Senses Sanctuary Phuket (now known as The Naka Island: Starwood Luxury Collection) was to create a retreat resort focused on guest wellness. It also had respect the existing environment and set an example for sustainable tourism. To deliver this objective, the team created an integrated architectural and landscape concept of sustainable living. Buildings are extremely sensitively designed, both in scale with their surroundings, while the guest experience closely interacts with nature. A number of ecological and biodiversity strategies were incorporated into our design.

These included extensive plantings of ‘edible gardens’ and the use of arboriculture techniques designed to ensure the healthy growth of the existing trees. Large trees are also incorporated as sun shade and visual landmarks in the overall landscape design.

In focusing on preservation of the existing ecosystem in this way, we hoped the guest experience would be one of harmonization between the environment and their daily activities.

The project is located on Naka Yai Island, a small island near Phuket. The only access to the resort is by boat. This allows guests time to unwind from the clamor of Phuket town during their journey across to the island, in preparation for a place of true retreat for mind and body. The jetty faces the Phuket mainland, sheltered from wind and waves in the rainy season.

While the island is generally hilly, a large piece of flat beach area makes the perfect location for the guest welcome area, and the spa, main restaurant, and pool areas.

The priority given to wellness is evident in the proportion of the site and built area given over to the spa facilities. Occupying about 20 percent of the site, the area consists of four separate treatment areas, each inspired by a nationality famed for their particular therapeutic practices:

Indian concept Curative

Chinese concept Preventative

Indonesian concept Beauty/Relaxation

Thai concept  Equilibrium

All 67 pool villas are located to maximize their views to the sea. Fortunately, the site is a peninsula with a hill running down its spine. This topography provides for villa sites on both sides of the ridge, all with unobstructed sea views and minimal impact on the existing ecology.

  • LocationKoh Naka Yai, Phuket, Thailand
  • Date2008
  • Interior designerSix Senses Creative Department
  • Landscape designerP Landscape